Weatherization group aims to reduce energy costs by 30 percent

Posted Oct. 05, 2010, at 11:04 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:28 a.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — If all the residents of Maine were to weatherize their homes, and thereby save about 30 percent on their energy bills, about $550 million would be saved every year. If every Lincoln household did it, that would save about $2.1 million, Tom Battin says.

“The average that people spend is about $3,400 on energy every year,” Battin said Tuesday. “That could be reduced by about $1,000 per household with weatherization.”

That’s why Battin, a community organizer from the Maine Green Energy Alliance, will hold free Homeowner Energy Clinics at Lincoln Memorial Library on Thursdays starting tomorrow. The clinics will run from 10 a.m. to noon and 3 to 5 p.m., library director Linda Morrill said.

The public, especially homeowners and landlords, is invited.

“Winter is coming. People are worried about their energy bills and this is something that the Maine Green Energy Alliance approached me on,” Morrill said. “I think it’s a terrific idea.”

“We offer a lot of books and resources online for people to weatherproof their homes and make them more efficient,” She added. “I thought this was a great opportunity to not only showcase what we have but to offer the community a service that they may not be able to get to.”

Weatherization means using air and thermal barriers, including fiberglass, polystyrene boards and spray-foam polystyrene, to air-seal a home and reinforce the seals with insulation. Homeowners can do it themselves, but it is generally recommended that those looking to fully weatherize their homes employ energy assessors to measure the energy savings and safeguard against the weatherization work causing problems within a home.

Battin said he plans to teach basic weatherization techniques that homeowners can do themselves and discuss the many state and federal grants, loans and other aid available to homeowners for improving their homes’ energy efficiency.

“We are here to help people learn about the advantages of sealing up their homes,” Battin said. “A lot of people don’t realize that their homes leak a lot of energy. We are trying to extend to them the opportunity to take advantage of tax credits from the federal government where you can get up to 30 percent off on the cost of materials or $1,500 in tax credits from the federal government and the Efficiency Maine program.”

The alliance also can recommend energy auditors to homeowners, Battin said.

Among the do-it-yourself energy savers are fluorescent light bulbs, rubber or polystyrene gaskets placed inside electrical outlet covers, door and window seals, and new energy-smart appliances, Battin said.

“Speaking for myself, I bought a new refrigerator and dropped my electrical bill monthly by $10,” he said.

Battin said he hopes to run the clinics until December. Anyone interested in learning more about the alliance can visit mainegreenenergyalliance.org.

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